Food in a Changing Climate – an Australian perspective from Prof Alana Mann

SN_FoodChangingClimate_CVRAustralian Professor Alana Mann discusses some key themes from her recent book ‘Food in a Changing Climate’ in this wide-ranging conversation. She believes Australia could be seen as a case study in what can go badly wrong if you are naive about climate change and our food systems. She also says drawing on indigenous knowledge of what works in the difficult environment there and elsewhere could also help in facing the challenges to food systems from climate change.

Alana argues for the rejuvenation and strengthening of local and regional food systems that have been steadily eroded in the name of economic ‘efficiency’. She draws on case studies from around the world in her book to illustrate how the commodification of food has made us particularly vulnerable to climate change, extreme weather events, and pandemics such as COVID19. She says these shocks reveal the danger of our reliance on increasingly complex supply chains – dominated by a decreasing number of mega-companies – for our food security.

Here are links to some of the things she mentioned in her interview: Bruce Pascoe’s book, Dark Emu Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident?; Graham Riches book, Food Bank Nations; website for FoodLab Detroit  and a Ted Talk by Devita Davison of FoodLab Detroit; websites for FoodLab Sydney; the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact; and, Food Sovereignty. Here are links to some media reports on the issues discussed in the book re: almonds and plant-based protein and meat replacements

Alana Mann, Food in a Changing Climate, Emerald Publishing, 2021.

You can hear an interview with Graham Riches entitled ‘First world hunger – surplus food for surplus people?’ here and read a guest blog by him entitled ‘Corporate Charity undermines the human right to adequate food and nutrition’ here.

About Geoff Tansey

I curate the Food Systems Academy, a free, on-line, open education resource to transform our food systems. I was also a member of the Food Ethics Council from 2000-2021 and chaired the independent Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty, which reported in 2015.
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